In the old days people were just very casual about their health and health issues. Cancer, stroke, and other diseases were not in their vocabulary.
I remember the first time my mother whispered the deadly word Cancer in the 1967 when one of the doctors passed away!!
Most people in the villagers would buy over the counter medication. And indeed many barefoot doctors went from village to village to sell medicines.
One of the most popular medicines sold by these sinseh or medicine men was Cap Tiga Kaki.
this every popular medication was good fro every thing: headaches, stomach aches, tooth aches and occasionally even for sleeping disorders!!
My own grandmother had a few packets in her basket all the time. She would give one packet to my young cousin if he had a fever..One packet could cure a simple fever.
That was easy for every one. My grandmother did not have to trouble my aunt to bring the child to the town to see a doctor in those early days in 1950's. Later when more doctors graduated in Sibu parents became more open to western medicine and they started choosing their own favourite doctors.
However this over the counter cap kaki tiga continues to be popular...its western counter part is Panadol.